by Don Mager
Mr. Dunkirk -- Doreen
adjourns, sliding his chair, he leaves.
Despite the weather, much was accomplished.
Mr. Dunkirk is glad when all goes
well. Driving home in the rain, the worst
now past, he thinks of that great strange city
where people need comedy clubs in order
to know when
to laugh. That's downright disorder,
he opines as tires crush the wet leaves
and his wipers slosh. His small city
spreads with skyscraping oaks accomplished
by time's untimed patience. But even worse
is timing your words just right, or else there goes
line, flat on its face--like broken limbs--gone
the way of things brittle. He likes order
and for things to take their course. The worst
is to force them, make them fit. No, leave
lots of time for stories to accomplish
their natural bent. He laughs about that city
as opposite from his city,
its laughter opposite from his. He goes
there from time to time to accomplish
one thing: sit in a club in order
to laugh at them when they laugh. Then he leaves.
For years he's wondered what laughter is, and worse,
humans do it. Is it our worst
or best trait, we who alone make cities?
Because of the rain, everywhere leaves
have cluttered the street. He does not go
home just yet. It would be the orderly
thing, but he has something else to accomplish,
alone, without help, can accomplish.
The rain finally stops and he drives through the worst
sections to the graveyard, in order
to stand overlooking the city,
the plot where some day his body will go.
But his mind is what knows that consciousness leaves.
leaves us, he thinks, and all we accomplish.
We alone go into our futures knowing the worst.
In Mr. Dunkirk's city, laughter's now in order.
In this city,
laughter is in order.
The storm left a crazy mess. Bright stars
burn through the rain swept air and chorus frogs chirp.
Doreen feels giddy, home from the storm. A week's
vacation ahead of her with no
plans, she sits on her porch feeling as if
champagne, and slaps mosquitoes. If
the week is what the doctor ordered,
she must play it right. She knows this quite well. No
foretold conclusion: A journey to the stars,
or work clearing underbrush all week,
or listening to as many frogs chirp
at one time as
she can. How much chirping
can my ears behold, she asks. What if
I release their spectrums like dogs? a whole week
of fully opened ears? Could my eyes order?
drink down even half the floods of the stars?
About the possible, what do we know?
obligation, we of course know
too much. Are the frogs obliged to chirp
with such giddiness after it rains? Do stars
elect whose eyes their lights fall into? And if
Doreen simply went against her own orders,
what would that do the to outcome of her week?
but time, who owns it? This week
is mine, but all the others, she knows,
are owned somewhere else, obliged, imposed, ordered.
Freedom--all its scatter--is like random chirped
staccatos in the underbrush. If
they're disorder, then so are all the stars.
As she sits
breathing in rain scent, the stars
have grown brighter. In her eyes, the week
ahead is a small surprising journey if
she plays it right. What else does she need to know?
So, stretching her arms and standing, she says: Chirp
on sweet frogs, sing me to my rest. Order
night and let disorder sound. May the good stars
in astral underbrushes chirp, filling up each night this week
with promises to find, and know, and use . . . what . . . when . . . and if